A nice Jewish boy who wanted to be Porky Pig.
Bob Bergen may not be a name that you recognize immediately, but the characters that he brings to life are ones that you have heard your whole life. He voices Warner Bros. icons such as Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester Jr., Speedy Gonzalez and my personal favorite, Marvin the Martian. He voices Luke Skywalker in Star Wars video games. You can hear him in episodes of Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies. Just to name a few. (This is an understatement.)
He has voiced characters in numerous movies including Space Jam, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Cars, Monsters, Inc., and two of my favorites; Comet in The Santa Clause; 2 and The Santa Clause; 3 and also Bucky the Squirrel in The Emperor's New Groove. Plus, many, many more credits in video games, live action and animated feature films as well as about a gazillion commercials, promos and imaging branding for radio stations throughout the country.
Bob is not only a gifted Emmy nominated voice actor, but also someone who gives back to the acting community on a regular basis. You will often find him teaching all-day workshops either remotely or in-person. He is an in-demand coach, with a waiting list about as long as your arm, maybe longer. Seriously. It can take YEARS to get to the top of his list for a teaching spot. He is a member of both The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.
Last Fall, I had the good fortune of securing a seat to observe Bob in action, during a VOPeeps workout presented by Anne Ganzuzza. Bob was so attentive and nurturing with each of the participants. He has the ability to hear nuances and approaches that most likely would go unnoticed by anyone who doesn't possess such a seasoned ear as his, and then is able to know just-the-right place to make the adjustment and then, oh yes, knows just-the-right adjustment to make. He gives ah-ha direction that sticks with you, such as "perform the scene; don't read the lines" or "a bold choice gets you the job." Such great advice, no matter what the genre.
Bob is very active on social media, which is where and how I got to really know about him. On Facebook, he is very generous with his advice and words of wisdom, which can benefit a seasoned professional or a rank beginner. He exudes the concept of paying-it-forward, something that he credits learning from mentors and teachers he has had on his journey, particularly early on. Bob is never condescending or flippant in his input, as you sometimes hear from so called 'experts' who don't have half the success that Bob has. He always makes statements based on his own experience and his personal outlook on the current state of voice acting. And from someone who is constantly working, he has his finger on the pulse of what is really going on today in the vast world of VO.
For about the past two months, Bob has taken to his Instagram account to address and answer questions that he receives from his many fans; including current voice actors who are both seasoned and early in their careers, people of all ages who are thinking about dipping their toes into the VO water and even those who have no intention of ever voicing a character on their own but who are curious to know about the voice behind their favorite persona.
Sometimes every day, and quite often, multiple times within a day, Bob is inviting anyone who cares to join him on Instagram, to basically step into the booth with him. It is essentially a free class in Voice Over Performance. We get to see his studio, learn what the audition process is like, how to make creature voices, the importance of improv, how to get your auditions to stand out before a casting director, how to bring a character to life and so much more. One of my favorite lines is "All characters have a voice, but not all voices have character." Hearing him say something like that just makes me want to sit back, mull it over for a bit and then go back and listen to him say it again. True gems, spoken by one of today's top Voice Actors.
I actually have started re-listening to Bob's audio/video Instagram posts, but this time with pen and paper in hand. A little over two weeks in and I already have three full pages of advice and knowledge down that I can go back and refer to for inspiration and actual real world knowledge, both specifically on voicing characters and also on VO in general. And as an added bonus, it's just plain fun to hear and watch him get into some of the many characters he has given a voice to.
Check out Bob's Instagram page (bergen.bob) to hear all or part of his series, whether to learn more about voice acting or just for fun! To find out more about Bob, check out his website.
A true creative genius who has far and away exceeded his initial goal of wanting to be Porky Pig!